The Various Stages Of Photography
Becoming a photographer is definitely not an overnight process and usually takes a lot of hard work. But every photographer who has been around for a while, like myself, knows there are certain stages you go through on the journey to becoming a professional working photographer.
So let’s take a lighthearted look at the different stages of photography…
The first decent camera
You’ve probably been taking pictures since you were a child, with a variety of different cheap cameras. But one day, when you make the decision that you want to get serious about photography, you invest in your first decent camera. Frankly, these days you’ve got it easy – DSLRs are far more self-explanatory than the film cameras I grew up with!
However, all those controls can be somewhat daunting and you’re probably going to spend some time switching the camera to auto and hoping for the best. And you’ll probably end up taking a lot of photos of your cat or dog, because you’re too embarrassed to use it in front of friends.
At some point, you’re going to realise that the only way to actually become a photographer is to learn how to use your camera properly. Whether you choose to study at college or just read every photography manual out there, you spend all your time finding out more about how photography actually works. Before too long, you’re boring all your friends with constant discussion of the exposure triangle, the importance of light and focal length.
Stuff… and more stuff
The trouble with becoming a photographer is all the stuff you’re going to want and need. And by ‘stuff’ I mean gear. Lots and lots of shiny gear – lenses, flashguns, filters, tripods, camera bags, studio lighting, computers, printers… the list can go on and on.
All your money is spent on buying a new piece of equipment and you beg, steal or borrow to fund the rest. Unfortunately, even when you’ve bought all the stuff you need, there will always be some new piece of kit on the market tempting you. No one said being a photographer was going to be cheap,,,
It’s all about the art
You’re totally in love with photography and it’s your one true passion. You’re an artist – photography isn’t about the money, it’s about creating images that you find beautiful. You’d never compromise your artistic integrity by doing shoots you don’t find interesting. Producing amazing shots is all that matters.
Man or Woman cannot live on air alone
Screw the artistic integrity! At some point you’ll realise that clients aren’t always interested in your arty representations of themselves or their products. They want photos taken to their specifications. And frankly, making money suddenly seems more appealing when all you’ve eaten for the last week is baked beans on toast.
Comparing yourself to other photographers
Looking at other photographers’ work can be inspiring and is essential to broaden your knowledge and appreciation of the history of photography. But it can also be intimidating. There are so many photographers out there doing amazing work, it can feel as if you’ll never be good enough.
Acceptance and continued learning
At some point, you’ll reach the stage where you’re happy with your work. You’ll have your own niche and unique outlook on photography, and you’ll be pleased with the images you’re producing. Other photographers will inspire you to keep experimenting with your work and to keep learning new techniques and practices. Because the one thing that will remain true throughout your photography career is that you never, ever stop learning!